The Rays came into Game 2 of the ALDS with absolute confidence that David Price could restore order following an ugly Game 1 loss. Watching him suffer through the worst postseason start of his career, it's hard to tell how much of that confidence is still left.
The Red Sox rocked Price for nine hits, two home runs and every last run in their 7-4 win to take a two-games-to-none lead over the Rays as the series swings to Tampa.
Both of the homers came off the bat of David Ortiz, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. John Lackey went 5.1 strong innings for the Sox, giving up four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. Koji Uehara came on in the ninth to shut the door.
End of the seventh, Red sox 6, Rays 4: A ridiculous double-play turn got the Sox out of inning.
Dustin Pedroia started it by snaring Ben Zobrist's grounder the spinning to make the feed to Stephen Drew at second.
Call it a crafty veteran move or call it luck, but Drew avoided Evan Longoria sliding into second by making a neighborhood tag and firing to Napoli at first.
Either way, after Craig Breslow hit James Loney and walked Evan Longoria, it got the Sox out of a sticky situation.
The Rays have had their chances, but as a team they're 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
End of the sixth, Red Sox 6, Rays 4: With John Lackey sitting at 96 pitchers through 5.1 innings and the Rays finding ways to hang around (namely with Yunel Escobar's RBI single off Lackey), John Farrell decided not to test Lackey's limits.
He reached into the bullpen for Craig Breslow, who needed just four pitches to get out of the inning.
From here, it will be interesting to see how Farrell uses his relievers to preserve a two-run lead, especially with Koji Uehara possibly available to pitch two innings.
End of the fifth, Red Sox 6, Rays 3:With James Loney's two-run double the Rays are still very much alive.
One thing, they don't like to do, however is play from behind. Manager Joe Maddon made that much clear before the game.
“From the very first day of the year, I talked to the team about winning the seven-inning game,” Maddon said. “When we were able to win those seven-inning games most teams are really good."
When the Rays trailed after seven innings, their fate was all but sealed. They went 5-58 in those games.
Knowing how strong the Sox bullpen has been, it's not a position Maddon wants to be in.
"You don’t want to mess with good bullpens and [the Red Sox] have an outstanding bullpen," he said.
End of the fourth, Red Sox 5, Rays 1: When Sox manager John Farrell was asked before the game how he thought his lineup would fare against David Price, five runs in four innings wasn't in the forecast.
In fact, he wasn't sure how things would go.
"He's pitched extremely well here at Fenway," Farrell said. "He's pitched extremely well against us. We know we're going to get a lot of power stuff thrown at us and a lot of strikes.
"So whether or not responding to the way he establishes his strike zone early on, if that causes us to maybe swing the bat a little earlier in the count, we'll see. But we know that we're in for a challenge here today."
The Rays were counting on Price to give them a bounce back effort after Friday's struggles, but with six hits (four for extra-bases), the Sox have managed make it a rough day for him.
With two outs and Jonny Gomes on, Stephen Drew, who came in 0 for 10 lifetime against Price, knocked a 2-and-2 triple off the Wall to put the Sox add on to the lead. The Sox are 3 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
End of the third, Red Sox 4, Rays 1: Jacoby Ellsbury's squeezed as much as one player possibly can out of a pair of flares.
In the first inning, he reached on a looper to right, stole second and took third on Jose Molina's throwing error, and scored on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, after David Ross led off with a double, Ellsbury poked a soft liner to an awkward spot in shallow left. Ross came around to score while Ellsbury hustled to second for a double.
With seven career postseason steals, Ellsbury is now one shy of the Sox's club record, trailing Johnny Damon’s 8. He's also fifth all-time in postseason doubles with eight.
End of the second, Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Small ball gets the Rays on the board. Ben Zobrist worked John Lackey for a leadoff walk, Desmond Jennings ran the count full before singling up the middle and moving Zobrist into scoring position and Delmon Young plated him with a fly ball to right.
Lackey hasn't had his best stuff necessarily. He's walked two and giving up two hits. But of the 21 pitches he's thrown 16 have gone for strikes. He ended the inning by fanning Jose Molina with a 93-mile-per-hour fastball.
End of the first inning, Red Sox 2, Rays 0: The crowd was already picking on Wil Myers -- making him their No. 1 target from the first pitch -- then David Ortiz decided to join in.
He ripped a 1-and-0 cutter from David Price out to right field as tall and loud as the fly ball that ruined Myers day yesterday only this one was longer.
The Sox were already up 1-0 thanks to a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly that scored Jacoby Ellsbury.
Myers didn't have to wonder where it landed. It was in the bleachers. Ortiz's homer gave the Sox a two-run jump on a pitcher that has only given up more than two runs to the Sox once this season.
Coming into that at-bat, Ortiz was 8 for 37 against Price with no homers.
Pregame: The sight was strange, but somehow it made perfect sense. The Red Sox and Rays were preparing for Game 2 of the ALDS in their own ways.
While the Sox were getting early ground balls in, the Rays were in the outfield throwing the frisbee around.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he liked the fact that even after taking an ugly 12-2 loss on Friday, his team was loose.
"The thing I preach from the first day of Spring Training is I want to play the same game regardless if it's March 15th, June 11th or October 5," Maddon said. "I don't want us to change anything ever. I think when you go about it that way, even though the game has more magnitude or whatever, I don't want them to change their routine.
"If you go out and play frisbee, go ahead and play with the frisbee. I really don't care. So I want to believe that we'll go out there and play with the typical looseness that we do."
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